Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for April 17th!
April 17, 1982 – Constitution – Queen Elizabeth II signs the Royal Proclamation of Canada’s constitution in a ceremony on Parliament Hill
This Canadian History for Kids exclusive, looks at the Canada Act.
The Canada Act, or Canadian Constitution Act of 1982, was signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on Apr. 17, 1982.
Canada’s political history began with the British North America Act of 1867. This act created the modern state of Canada by combining the Province of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a dominion within the British Empire. A Governor General fulfilled the constitutional duties of the British Sovereign on Canadian soil. The United Kingdom still had the power to make or enact laws for Canada. However, another Canadian history for kids fact, is that the Statute of Westminster 1931 removed this power of the British Parliament for Canada.
The British North America Act 1949 was passed by the British Parliament, giving the Parliament of Canada significant constitutional amending powers. However, an Act of the British Parliament was still required to make changes in the Canadian constitution. Delay in the change of the Canadian constitution was due in large part to the lack of agreement concerning a method for making changes to the constitution that would be acceptable to all of the provinces, particularly Quebec.
This Canadian history for kids fact continues with how the Canada Act was the last request of the Canadian government to change the country’s constitution. After unpromising negotiations with the provincial governments, Pierre Trudeau eventually began to hope that the federal Parliament could approve the constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that provincial approval was not needed, but that substantial consent from the provinces was required. Trudeau succeeded in convincing nine provinces during a First Ministers’ conference in November 1981.
Only Quebec declined signing the new Act.
The Canada Act, 1982 was signed into law by Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada on April 17, 1982 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. So this Canadian history for kids fact means that Queen Elizabeth’s constitutional powers over Canada was not affected by the Act, and she remains Queen and Head of State of Canada. Canada has complete sovereignty as an independent country and the Queen’s role as monarch of Canada is separate from her role as the British monarch or the monarch of any of the other Commonwealth realms.
And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!